It seems inexplicable that the Premier League’s runaway Golden Boot contender and the leading points scorer in FPL is being removed from hundreds of thousands of squads when he is neither injured nor suspended, given his ruthless consistency in a Manchester City shirt so far.
But as wrong as it feels to discard the Norwegian points magnet, there is some logic to it. City are one of six clubs not in league action this week, as a result of reaching the FA Cup quarter-final, and are one of only eight clubs who will play just once in Gameweek 29 when the other dozen feature twice.
To cut a long story short, Haaland will play a maximum of one match over the next two gameweeks (a potentially tricky one against Liverpool at home in 29, depending on which Liverpool turns up), while other forwards will have three. Time will tell whether the gamble to sell him pays off – a Haaland hat-trick against Jurgen Klopp’s side suddenly seems inevitable – but it is easy to see why managers are pondering the unthinkable.
Gameweek 27 top scorers
- Neto (Bournemouth) – 10
- Forster (Spurs) – 9
- Pickford (Everton) – 8, De Gea (Man Utd) – 8
- Gabriel (Arsenal) – 14
- Stones (Man City), Akanji (Man City), Bella-Kotchap (Southampton) – 9
- Moreno (Aston Villa), Chilwell (Chelsea), Tarkowski (Everton), Walker-Peters (Southampton) – 8
- Trossard (Arsenal) – 15
- McNeil (Everton), Harrison (Leeds) – 11
- Billing (Bournemouth) – 10
- Kane (Spurs) – 13
- Richarlison (Spurs), Havertz (Chelsea) – 9
- Watkins (Aston Villa), Bamford (Leeds) – 8
With only seven Premier League fixtures this weekend, it’s a prime opportunity to use your Free Hit chip, which allows you to make unlimited transfers to your squad for one week without incurring a points deduction. So for instance, if you want to move Haaland on this week but have him back in place for Gameweek 29, you can do so by pressing the shiny Free Hit button.
Another strategy to consider is using the Wildcard now to ensure you have a full team out this weekend and plenty of double gameweek players ready for 29. That plan is especially prudent for those who have the Bench Boost chip, which adds points scored by your substitutes to your overall score.
The eight clubs with three matches in the next two gameweeks are: Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Brentford, Chelsea, Leeds, Leicester, Newcastle and Nottingham Forest.
This week’s deadline is at 6.30pm on Friday.
Gameweek 28 fixtures
Friday 17 March
- Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle
Saturday 18 March
- Aston Villa vs Bournemouth
- Brentford vs Leicester
- Southampton vs Spurs
- Wolves vs Leeds
- Chelsea vs Everton
Sunday 19 March
- Arsenal vs Crystal Palace
Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea)
Everton are in the relegation zone for goals scored away from home and with neither of the two clubs below them in that table – Nottingham Forest and West Ham – playing away this weekend, the misfiring Toffees are the attack to target from a defensive standpoint.
Chelsea have only kept one clean sheet in their previous five matches, but Kepa Arrizabalaga’s home form bodes well ahead of a run of three consecutive fixtures at Stamford Bridge. Of Kepa’s eight clean sheets in the league this season, five have come at home where he has averaged six points per game.
Price: £4.7m Points: 87 Gameweek 28 fixture: Everton (h) Gameweek 29 double? Yes.
Kieran Trippier (Newcastle)
After a run of four matches without a clean sheet or attacking return, Kieran Trippier was back in the points this week, providing an assist for Alexander Isak during Newcastle’s 2-1 win over Wolves to earn five overall. It could have been more had Trippier not inadvertently set up Wolves’ equaliser by slipping at the vital moment.
Trippier offers points potential at both ends of the pitch for Newcastle’s game against Nottingham Forest on Friday night. Only Kevin De Bruyne has created more chances than him in the Premier League this season, while Forest have averaged less than a goal a game across the campaign.
Price: £6m Points: 152 Gameweek 28 fixture: Nottingham Forest (a) Gameweek 29 double? Yes.
Ben Chilwell (Chelsea)
Considering Chelsea have only conceded eight goals in their 12 home games in the league, doubling up on their defence looks to be a viable strategy for the next couple of weeks. Ben Chilwell has supplanted Reece James as the Blues’ defender of choice, as evidenced by his status as the most-bought player ahead of Friday’s deadline.
Injuries have plagued the England left-back over the past couple of campaigns, but encouragingly he has started in each of Chelsea’s last four fixtures. And he has demonstrated his attacking potential in the last two, providing an assist against Leeds before scoring a fine goal against Leicester, from an expected goals total of 0.01.
Price: £5.9m Points: 55 Gameweek 28 fixture: Everton (h) Gameweek 29 double? Yes.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (Arsenal)
If you don’t have an Arsenal defender in your squad now could be a good time to get one considering their next opponents Crystal Palace have failed to have a single shot on target in their last three games. According to Opta, the Eagles are the first to achieve this miraculous feat since they started collecting data in the 2003-04 season.
Similarly to their forward players, it is tricky to pick out a standout Arsenal defender given they all have similar price tags and points tallies. Oleksandr Zinchenko is the best pick according to the stats, though, as he averages more shots (1.10) and chances created (0.90) per game than any of the others.
Price: £5.2m Points: 86 Gameweek 28 fixture: Crystal Palace (h) Gameweek 29 double? No, single fixture.
James Maddison (Leicester)
On the face of it, James Maddison looks like a straightforward avoid this week. Leicester have been beaten in their last four Premier League games and lost eight of their 11 matches since the division’s resumption after the World Cup. Maddison, meanwhile, has gone three games without registering either a goal or an assist.
However, he has been unfortunate to miss out on points. According to FPL, Maddison has had an expected goal involvement, which measures the likelihood of a player scoring or assisting a goal, of 1.67 in that run.
The Foxes have promising upcoming fixtures with Brentford (a), Crystal Palace (a), Aston Villa (h) and Bournemouth (h) in their next four.
Price: £8.1m Points: 101 Gameweek 28 fixture: Brentford (a) Gameweek 29 double? Yes.
Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)
There is plenty of FPL interest in Leandro Trossard after his hat-trick of assists against Fulham, however, his game-time could soon be limited following Gabriel Jesus’ return to action after a three-month lay-off. As impressive as the Belgian has been since joining from Brighton in January, he is a rotation risk and may share minutes with Gabriel Martinelli in the coming weeks.
Martin Odegaard is arguably less likely than Trossard and Martinelli to hit double figures in a single gameweek, but he is irreplaceable and arguably the first name on Mikel Arteta’s teamsheet. The Norwegian’s underlying numbers are great too: over the past five gameweeks he ranks top in Arsenal’s squad for both shots (20) and chances created (17).
Price: £6.6m Points: 150 Gameweek 28 fixture: Crystal Palace (h) Gameweek 29 double? No, single fixture.
Emi Buendia (Aston Villa)
If you’re on the lookout for midfielders who have a fixture in 28 and two in 29, there aren’t many obvious candidates to pick from. A differential possibly worth investing in for the short-term is Emi Buendia for whom that criteria does apply; Villa face Bournemouth (h) in 28, followed by Chelsea (a), Leicester (a) in 29.
Buendia is owned by less than 1 per cent of managers but has become a more prominent part of the Villa side since Unai Emery replaced Steven Gerrard. The Argentine has started all but one of Emery’s 13 league matches in charge, scoring three goals, attempting the third-most shots and creating the second-highest number of chances of any Villan in that time.
Price: £5.7m Points: 77 Gameweek 28 fixture: Bournemouth (h) Gameweek 29 double? Yes.
Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal)
Bukayo Saka is probably a safer pick than Martinelli for those using their Wildcard as he has less competition for his starting place on the right wing. However, if you’re using the Free Hit, Martinelli has the edge based on his recent form.
Since Gameweek 24, Martinelli has scored five goals to Saka’s two and amassed 16 more FPL points. It’s a small sample size, but over the past two matches, Martinelli has had double the number of shots on goal than Saka (with eight to four). A man in red-hot form.
Price: £6.6m Points: 150 Gameweek 28 fixture: Crystal Palace (h) Gameweek 29 double? No, single fixture.
Harry Kane (Spurs)
In last week’s tips, we wrote “Harry Kane is perhaps the only one capable of lifting the gloom and doom” at Spurs after a calamitous sequence of results. Lo and behold, Kane was the saviour, scoring the first two goals of a 3-1 win against Nottingham Forest to register his 19th and 20th Premier League goals of the season.
Kane’s consistency has been admirable given his team have been anything but and while the Golden Boot is likely to be out of reach, he is closing the gap on Haaland at the top of the FPL leaderboard. Spurs face teams in the thick of the relegation battle over the next two gameweeks with trips to Southampton and Everton.
Price: £11.7m Points: 176 Gameweek 28 fixture: Southampton (a) Gameweek 29 double? No, single fixture.
Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)
A striker bang in form with three matches over the next two gameweeks: Ollie Watkins is hot property in FPL and is the second-most bought forward, behind Kane, ahead of Friday’s deadline as managers plan for life after Erling.
Villa have been revitalised since Emery was appointed, but no player has enjoyed as much of an upswing in form as Watkins. The 27-year-old managed just a solitary goal in 11 appearances under Gerrard but has since netted eight in his last 14 and from Gameweek 21 onwards, he is level with Haaland at the top of the scoring charts with six goals.
Price: £7.3m Points: 110 Gameweek 28 fixture: Bournemouth (h) Gameweek 29 double? Yes.
Kai Havertz (Chelsea)
After going seven games without scoring, Kai Havertz has since found the net in back-to-back games against Borussia Dortmund and Leicester. If the first of those goals was slightly fortuitous coming via a retaken penalty, the second was anything but, Havertz elegantly lobbing the ball over Danny Ward after an inventive scoop pass from Enzo Fernandez.
It has been a tough season for Havertz, but he is gradually finding some confidence in front of goal and beginning to work well with Joao Felix and Raheem Sterling up front. Felix (£7.6m) is another interesting option to consider from the Blues attack, but Havertz just shades it after being confirmed as the club’s new first-choice penalty taker.
Price: £7.5m Points: 80 Gameweek 28 fixture: Everton (h) Gameweek 29 double? Yes.